I was enjoying conversation with a good friend yesterday. Together we were reflecting on the role of preaching in the life of the local church. It is such a full-orbed role, isn’t it? After all, as preacher this Sunday, you have the opportunity to preach as . . .
Teacher – The flock needs to be fed, and the preacher has the privilege of offering the food of God’s Word. This is certainly an educational role, but it is much more than education. Hearts and well as minds need to be fed. Lives need nourishing on the Word of God. As the text is expounded, there is massive opportunity for God to be presented (although some manage to preach the text without presenting God!) Teach, or they starve.
Leader – The flock needs to be led, and the preacher has the privilege of offering direction and example from God’s Word. Too easily we separate leadership from preaching. Either different people fulfill the roles, or different types of communication are used to lead than to preach. Why? The preacher has a unique opportunity to offer leadership to the congregation.
Shepherd – The flock needs to be cared for, and the preacher has the privilege of caring as the Word is presented. It is easy to think of pastoral care as a function of visitation, but how much can also be done from the pulpit? As a listener you can tell the difference between being cared for and being talked at. The preacher should care and let it show.
Defender – The flock needs to be protected, and the preacher has the privilege of defending the flock with the offering of the Word. Some don’t like this notion. They want all preaching to be sugar sweet and positive. But the reality is that there are false teachers and false teachings that are a definite threat to the flock, the preacher can defend as they preach the Word.
Evangelist – The flock needs to be growing, and the preacher has the privilege of offering the gospel as they preach the Word. Again, don’t assume that another person, another time, another role or office should take care of this. The preacher has the opportunity to clarify the gospel and call on listeners for response.